9/26/2011 04:48:25 PM - 0 Comments
Sometimes, you hear a speaker who is so aligned with your vision and priorities, it seems as though he was listening in on your last strategy session. That’s the way so many of us felt this morning when John Tory, head of the Toronto Civic Action Alliance, spoke at GLIDE.
John highlighted three opportunities that Louisville and Toronto share: regionalism, inclusion, and the power of ideas.
Sound familiar? They should. Each is a key part of Greater Louisville Inc.’s strategy, and what business leaders have told us are keys to regional success. Let’s examine each one.
Regionalism. John reminded our group that the future is all about economies of scale. Ever-larger cities will command ever-larger portions of the economy. While Louisville or Toronto on their own will have trouble competing in this climate, our regions – and all of their resources – will not. Global business doesn’t care about arbitrary political boundaries. They care about the land, workforce and opportunities in a given area, be it Jefferson County or just across the line in Oldham County. John reminded us that while some cities view themselves in competition with the surrounding areas for jobs, successful cities work to build new jobs for the entire region. This is the driving idea behind the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement, the effort between Louisville and Lexington to develop a ‘super-region’ around excellence and innovation in advanced manufacturing. Regional thinking makes us globally competitive.
Inclusion. Inclusion has been a strong theme of our GLIDE trip, with several speakers warning us against allowing any portion of our population to become disaffected. John also touched on this area, encouraging Louisville to quit bringing the usual suspects to the table when a challenge arises. Instead, we should rely on the ideas of the unusual suspects. By bringing vastly-diverse people and interests to the table, new solutions can be generated that are not possible under the old way of thinking. The way to get new ideas is to include new people. This is why one of GLI’s key goals is to create an inclusive business community where all companies and individuals have the opportunity to compete – and succeed – in the marketplace of ideas.
Ideas. Which brings us to ideas. Louisville is on its way to becoming an idea capital. As John noted, institutions no longer drive economies. Ideas do. By extension, our most challenging problems won’t be solved by government and community institutions, but by individuals brainstorming around the table. Ideas are critically important because they’re the precursor to jobs. That’s why Louisville’s regional vision is to become an idea capital of the world, a place where all people and all imaginations can thrive. Every job is predicated on an idea. And the more ideas we have in Louisville, the richer our society becomes.
John’s speech got the whole group energized around making Louisville a best-practice for the world in these three areas. We’re already on our way, and with the energy from today’s discussions, GLIDE attendees will be returning to Louisville ready to make big things happen.
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